John Grisham by The Appeal (v5)

John Grisham by The Appeal (v5)

Author:The Appeal (v5)
Language: eng
Format: mobi
ISBN: 9780307576125
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Published: 2008-08-11T04:00:00+00:00

At the offices of the Mississippi Trial Advocates on State Street, Barbara Mellinger, executive director and chief lobbyist, met for an early round of coffee with her assistant, Skip Sanchez. For the first cup, they mulled over the morning newspapers. They had copies of four of the dailies from the southern district—Biloxi, Hattiesburg, Laurel, and Natchez—and Mr. Coley’s face was on the front page of all four. The Jackson paper reported little else. The Times-Picayune out of New Orleans had a readership along the Coast, and it ran an AP story, with photo (handcuffs) on page 4.

“Perhaps we should advise all our candidates to get themselves arrested when they do their announcements,” Barbara said drily and with no attempt at humor. She hadn’t smiled in twenty-four hours. She drained her first cup and went for more.

“Who the hell is Clete Coley?” Sanchez asked, staring at the various photos of the man. Jackson and Biloxi had the mug shot—the look of a man who would throw a punch and ask questions after it landed.

“I called Walter last night, down in Natchez,” she was saying. “He says Coley has been around for years, always on the edge of something shady but smart enough not to get caught. He thinks that at one time he did oil and gas work. There was a bad deal with some small business loans. Now he fancies himself a gambler. Never been seen within six blocks of the courthouse. He’s unknown.”

“Not anymore.”

Barbara got up and moved slowly around the office. She refilled the cups, then sat down and resumed her study of the newspapers.

“He’s not a tort reformer,” Skip said, though not without some doubt. “He doesn’t fit their mold. He’s got too much baggage for a hard campaign. There’s at least one DUI, at least two divorces.”

“I think I agree, but if he’s never been involved before, then why is he suddenly screaming about the death penalty? Where does this conviction come from? This passion? Plus, his show yesterday was well organized. He’s got people. Where do they come from?”

“Do we really care? Sheila McCarthy beats him two to one. We should be thrilled he is what he is—a buffoon who, we think, is not being financed by the Commerce Council and all the corporate boys. Why aren’t we happy?”

“Because we’re trial lawyers.”

Skip turned gloomy again.

“Should we arrange a meeting with Judge McCarthy?” Barbara asked after a long, heavy pause.

“In a couple of days. Let the dust settle.”



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